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Border group asks Biden administration, Congress for comprehensive immigration policies as Title 42 ends

Migrant Families Rio Grande Valley
Familias de migrantes recientemente liberadas de la detención federal esperan para abordar un autobús en una estación de autobuses en McAllen, Texas, Estados Unidos, 31 de julio de 2019.

On Thursday, The Texas Border Coalition (TBC), a nonprofit coalition of border mayors, county judges, and economic development commissions sent a letter to the Biden administration and congressional leaders calling for a comprehensive immigration and border policy.

“As we all know, the COVID-related requirement known as Title 42 to expel adult migrants entering the U.S. via the Mexico border was always a band-aid and not a solution,” said Eddie Treviño Jr., Cameron County Judge and chairman of TBC, in the letter.

May 23 is the last day that immigration enforcement agencies will remove migrants who seek asylum at border land ports. Instead, asylum cases will be processed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) withdrew its recommendation to DHS to expeditiously remove migrants seeking asylum in consideration of the pandemic, calling Title 42 “no longer necessary” in a release last week.

RELATED | Title 42 migrant expulsions had no basis in public health, says former CDC deputy director

The letter from TBC comes as the Biden administration issued policies over the last few weeks that may speed up the existing asylum process. DHS has also published contingency plans for the logistical challenge of a possible increase in numbers at land ports after May 23.

But TBC said in its letter that plans to address migrant asylum after the end of Title 42 are short-term and will foster new problems. The coalition called for more comprehensive measures that can “modernize the failed U.S. immigration system in place today.”

RELATED | ‘Current capabilities cannot forecast migrant surges’ after Title 42, DHS officials say

“Our border communities are among the safest in the country. Partisan fights that turn the border region into a political football sully our standing and harm our people,” said Treviño in the letter. “It is time our leaders put aside the partisan bickering.”

TBC called for a “modern” immigration system that can “address DREAMERs, agricultural workers and create and expand visa availability for temporary workers desperately needed to help our economy grow. … No region of the United States has a greater interest in border security than our communities.”

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Pablo De La Rosa is a Northern Tamaulipas-Rio Grande Valley native where he works as a writer and multimedia producer of stories from the Texas-Mexico border region.